Wednesday, March 01, 2023


I love to read the recent posts of my fellow Type Mers, especially when I'm searching for a topic to write about. The perspectives and interests of other writers are a great source of inspiration. I have been doing this blog for a long, long time, and sometimes I feel as if I have nothing new to say under the sun.

The same thing can be said of writing itself. I've written dozens of short stories– although none recently due to lack of time (so I say)– as well as four short novels and sixteen full-length crime novels. I am not a fast writer, nor do I have an easy system for coming up with new ideas for plots and themes. Each book takes a lot of thought, research, and stumbling, bumbling drafts. I read about prolific writers who have fifty or more books under their belts and I am astonished. I don't know how a writer can create twenty original and powerful books about Detective X or Miss Y the librarian. After ten Inspector Green novels, I really want a change. I was afraid I would start creating the same book wearing different clothes, and frankly, I wanted to spread my wings. Hence Amanda Doucette. She gave me a refreshing change and a new writing style, settings, and characters to explore. After five books living with her, I was ready to go back to Inspector Green. With a new, updated twist.

Charlotte Hinger's post about the Masterclasses intrigued me. I'd seen them advertised but, like her, I had always dismissed them. But the four authors she described are all prolific writers with dozens of books to their credit. I was struck by the drive, professionalism, and passion they seemed to convey. I decided that I would try to track down their classes and listen. You don't get to be a successful writer by writing a book or two, and then dusting off your hands and sitting back to savour the results. You write the next book, and the next, because the stories are clamouring to come out. Most of us writers don't write for the money - you're better off being a plumber. We write because words and stories are our way of connecting. With others and with ourselves. 

I've never been a fan of "how to write" books. There are many different ways to write and to tell a story, and each of us has to find the way that works for us. Maybe outlining would make my life easier, maybe I should know where I'm going before I start, but that's not how my creative mind works. But over the years I've learned a lot about the craft of writing from other writers and from various workshops, panels, and discussions, as well as from my own bumbling. I like hearing what works for other writers, because most of the time, I find more similarities than differences, and I feel a kindred connection. I pay particular attention to writers whom I regard as exceptional. I look at their use of language, structure, character development, etc. How they weave the story together. 

Most writers always want to be improving the quality of our prose and the power of our stories. Inspiration is not just one ahah! idea that galvanizes a story; it's a hundred little ahah ideas along the way that lift an ordinary character or theme into an extraordinary one. Ideas that make the story sparkle and infuse it with passion. 

Which is something I'm not sure a robot can do.

Now I am curious enough that I am going to check out some of these masterclasses, starting with the ones Charlotte mentioned. To see where their passion comes from and how they capture it.

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